One Northern California Appellate Court, in a sexual harassment case our firm was not involved in, came to certain dramatic conclusions about what is and what is not sexual harassment. In doing so, this particular court failed to comprehend how utterly offensive comments could constitute an abuse of power through sex, or that touching an intimate part of one’s body is sexual harassment. The court decided that sexual taunting was commonplace at this particular workplace. The employee was an iron worker tying rebar at Conco sites. The court also decided none of this terrible workplace harassmentconduct caused the employee severe emotional distress despite the fact he cried as he reported this to the safety manager.
There are ways to criticize an employee, and probably create a worker’s compensation stress case that do not closely relate to male on male sexual interests. Had the supervisor not been interested in homosexual practices, or how good a man looked in his pants, words would not have flowed from his mouth with such ease about what might be sexually stimulating to some. Apparently, this 2011 appellate court attempted to create a new type of immunity to vulgar workplaces of any industry.
One issue that comes up in the defense of a sexual harassment case is whether the workplace harassment was intended to obtain sexual gratification versus an intention to engage in offensive workplace conduct not aimed at sex or a date. In our cases, we have heard many failing arguments that sexual harassment is ok in certain workplaces. Consider the most extreme example, a stripper. While a stripper in certain strip clubs has consented to make contact with the bodies of customers and disrobe, she has not consented to have sex or be an-any-time squeeze for the bouncer or owner. In a less extreme example, a woman who works in Home Depot has not consented to hear vulgar sexual jokes, nor have her breasts starred at when she leans over just because she works in a workplace where many male customers come in to buy large pieces of lumber. Unless sexual banter between the harassed and the harasser is part of the job (like the script writers on Friends), sexual banter is likely to create a non-consented to sexually hostile work environment.
Our firm has handled many male on male sexual harassment cases. For the same reasons why male supervisors might try to subjugate a female employee through sexual harassment, male supervisors sometimes try to subjugate male employees through sexual harassment. Due to the certain bad 2011 sexual harassment case that came out of Northern California, every time there is same sex harassment, the lawyer representing the employee must ask whether the harasser is gay. The harasser’s claims about whether he is gay will then be subject to scrutiny. The 2011 appellate opinion is a judicial assault on any gay supervisor who is not openly gay.
We have handled many cases against males who have sexually harassed other males. Recently, we won a binding arbitration in a case in which a male sexually harassed a straight male. LARSON ARBITRATION AWARD. Male on male sexual harassment is a somewhat easier case if either the harasser or the employee being harassed is gay. However, we have prevailed on a number of male on male sexual harassment cases in which neither of the parties admitted they were gay; many in which the harasser claimed to be married or in a relationship with a woman.
Male on male sexual harassment involving the repeat touching of body parts should be deemed sexual harassment even if the harasser claims he is straight and not interested in other men. The physical touching of a man’s genitals or buttocks is an overtly sexual act that should constitute sexual harassment. Even if it is horseplay, it is still battery and sexual battery which are actionable legal theories.
We have handled hundreds, if not 500 or more sexual harassment cases. The fact scenarios we have seen have been of all sorts. Just like we have handled male on male sexual harassment, we have handled female on female sexual harassment. We are experienced in dealing with defenses that it is ok for a woman to touch other woman, women are comfortable being naked together, and comfortable talking about sex together so those acts are not sexual harassment. These notions are not true of all women, and certainly not true of women from all cultures.
Whether your sexual harassment case is against a lesbian, you are a lesbian being sexually harassed by a man who wants to turn you straight, or you cannot figure out why another woman is obsessed with touching your natural breasts or recent breast implants, we can help you. Karl Gerber has actually represented women in all of these unusual fact patterns.
The Employment Lawyers Group has both male and female attorneys whom have handled many delicate sexual harassment cases. If you have a preference for an attorney of a certain gender to handle your case, we can accommodate your request. However, rest assured that our attorneys have considerable experience handling employment cases that involve delicate personal issues whether they are sexual harassment by a member of the same sex, or an embarrassing medical condition that was the reason for the job termination.
California employment is not supposed to be permeated with sexual touching. Jobs are not supposed to be conditioned on sex. Employees are not supposed to be obsessed with other employee’s sexual characteristics, nor are work a place where employees must listen to explicit sexual details. If you have an issue that might be sexual harassment: Call 1-877-525-0700 to speak to a firm who has handled hundreds of sexual harassment cases, and consult with a sexual harassment lawyer